General Motors will look to slash its R&D costs in the future, by increasingly sharing platforms and engines across models. Company CEO Dan Akerson and product boss Mary Barra spoke to the big changes coming for GM during online seminars billed as the 2011 Global Business Conference.
According to Barra, the number of vehicle platforms stood at 24 in 2010. That will drop to just 14 by 2018. The automaker’s engine lineup will also shrink considerably from 20 in 2009 to just 10 in 2018.
Diversifying the product offering may be a way to build success through vehicle sales, but when it comes to profitability, the ideal plan is to build as many vehicles with shared parts. They key then is to differentiate them enough through unique style and equipment so as to avoid the sort of rebadging that many believe got GM into its pre-bankruptcy financial mess.
Apart from R&D savings, reduced platforms and engines will also allow GM to save on tooling for plants, while allowing better flexibility of production.
GM is hardly alone in its plan, with Ford proudly proclaiming its “One Ford” plan of sharing vehicle architectures globally, while Chrysler recently made the move to replace seven different engines with its new Pentastar V6 engine.
[Source: Ward's Auto]